July 11, 2010
Building Strong Friendships in Christ
Strengthening and Encouraging Your Faith Today
“and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith,”
1 Thessalonians 3:2 Page 1849
I watched my friend cast a lure toward a large, dark school of bait fish swimming about 50 yards off the beach. Every now and then, a large silver tarpon, weighing about one hundred pounds, would rip through the surface, with bait showering all around him. In the center of the dark cloud of bait, a bright green patch of water appeared, because all the bait got out of the way of that big, hungry tarpon. Although Bill cast for about half an hour, he never hooked a single fish. You see, tarpon at times can be very particular about what they eat. When Bill walked up to the table today, I told him he was my glory and joy. I also told my wife today that she was my glory and joy. Why was I saying that today?
A few years ago, I was studying the Bible every day with a friend of mine. She said that she had no reason for living, and she did not feel good about losing her job. She never wanted to return to her workplace, or see any of the people she had worked with for many years. I read 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, page 1848, with her, and then told her that she was my glory and joy. I doubt that anyone has ever told you that you are their glory and joy. You may want to consider telling some believer, whom you know well, that they he/she is your glory and joy and watch them look at you very strangely. But, they may ask you why you would say such a thing.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:20, page 1848, Paul has just finished telling the Thessalonians how much they meant to him and the rest of the ministry team. He concluded his remarks by letting them know that they were the team’s hope, joy and crown of exultation. People in Christ need to hear these same words from you, because Jesus feels that way about you too. We should not be friends that drag our friends down, but friends that lift each other to Jesus with words like hope, joy, crown of exultation, and glory. Not only do we need to say such words, often, but we need to have those feelings in our hearts for other believers and develop relationships with other believers that nourish them on such language frequently.
So, we learn some more about building strong friendships in Christ.
● Strong bonds of friendship form when we view our friends in Christ as our joy and glory.
● Strong bonds of friendship grow when we tell our friends in Christ that they are our joy and glory, and we mean it right from our hearts.
● We harm our bonds of friendship when we neglect to communicate the joy and glory we feel for our friends in Christ, and instead, only focus upon faults, fears, and foibles in our friends in Christ.
Application for Today
Today, I will thank God for the people I know who have received the Gospel of Jesus Christ and let them know that they are my joy and glory in Christ. Are you ready to tell someone today that they are your joy and glory in Christ today?